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i don't really understand the question.
if you do coupon codes then what is the problem with giving it to the customer.
and if you don't (like me and many others) then just let them know politely that you don't do coupons.
I would take a look at the cart and see if at any point in checkout it is showing a space for a coupon code. Might be in there by default.
I'd give them a coupon code. Customers who do this aren't just contacting you, they're contacting several places that sell the same or a similar item and seeing who is the most responsive and willing to give them the best deal.
No reason to exclude yourself.
I asked because while we do have coupon codes, our price is already very competitive without it. obviously we will make more money if customer don't use coupon code. I just wanted to see what other merchants think.
Are those coupons available to the general public or just to newsletter subscribers or just to returning customers or...?
It depends. If you only offer coupon codes for special promotions and do not pour them out in the thousands via coupon websites you could simply tell him that right now there is no promotion and no codes are available.
I regularly turn down people who ask for discounts because even if I risk loosing a sale once in a while I do not want to spread word in bargain hunter forums and around the internet that you can simply get a discount so easily. I do not want regular customers bombarding me with emails why I did not offer them a discount while offering them to any Average Joe that stops by for a single purchase.
However it always depends on the market. My customers are not very price sensitive.
Coupons are a mixed blessing. Only way to answer this is "can you afford it?"
If product priced right, and shipping is okay, I won't offer a coupon, but I might offer a perk for a mere x$ above... If MARGIN allows and I have a bunch of product to get rid of ASAP, then a coupon for THAT PRODUCT ONLY is made available.
Really depends on the market and the customers, such as if they expect coupons or not.
depending on your markup I usually try to work with the customer because most likely they will just move to another site offering a discount (I follow all MAP pricing rules). If they have called usually they came to me from PPC advertising so I want to make sure I convert that if I am still making money.
I'm not a merchant, but as a customer I have asked for a coupon code before ordering. Usually there aren't any on the specific thing I'm ordering, but it is great customer service to provide one if you have one. It's easier to get repeat orders than it is to get new customers. If a company gave me a promo code, I'd certainly want to do more business with them in the future as long as the rest of the transaction went great (shipping, etc.).